01/02/2002

University of Ulster research centre receives £14.5 million boost

The University of Ulster has unveiled plans to build a world-class multi-million pound biotechnology unit at their campus in Coleraine.

The Coleraine campus in County Londonderry, which is renowned for its achievements in biotechnology, has received £14.5 million funding to build the centre from a public private partnership involving the Department of Employment and Learning.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, UK Science and Innovation Minister, paid a visit to the province on Friday to lay the founding stone at the 'Centre for Molecular Sciences' at a ceremony attended by over 200 educationalists and experts.

Lord Sainsbury said: “The new centre will be a focus for world-class research by the UK’s top scientists. The state of the art facility, once developed, will enable dramatic expansion and diversification in the already high profile field of biomedical sciences. It will enhance the University of Ulster’s existing strengths in technology transfer between the increasing number of biomedical researchers and biotechnological companies in Northern Ireland."

The Minister for Employment and Learning Carmel Hanna and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Sir Reg Empey were among those who attended the event.

Mrs Hanna said: “The new Centre for Molecular Biosciences will augment existing research strengths at the University of Ulster and contribute to the university’s vision for a new high technology-based Northern Ireland economy.

“This is a very significant development being taken forward under the Support Programme for University Research (SPUR). It is a public private partnership under which my department will contribute 50 per cent of the £14.5 million costs, matching pound for pound contributions raised privately by the university.

The investment is the largest single award ever made to a university in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said this was indicative of the importance attributed to the "world-class" research undertaken at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster. (AMcE)

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